The Tiramisu Circus and Pre-Sale Day 1: A Look At Cake Patterns

Wow!  I can hardly believe it’s time to show you what I’ve been working on these past few months!  I’ve been working with two very talented graphic artists, husband and wife team Mikhaela Reid and Masheka Wood.  Cake would not be Cake without their hard work.

Mikhaela brought the lovely covergirl Penelope and her back-view-buddy Esme to life and designed the cover art for the pattern.  I knew from the beginning that I wanted cover art rather than photos, and I am so lucky Mikhaela wanted to work together on the project.  We drew inspiration from 1930’s DuBarry envelopes as well as vintage comic book covers.  I look forward to future collaborations, Mikhaela is an absolute joy to work with.

She also cracked open my head and scooped out all the relevant information for the back of the envelope (the Cake site is still very much a WIP, so I blacked out the site printed on the envelope back).  I love it!  I can’t wait to see it printed on an envelope and packed with pattern tissue!  Mikhaela blogs at Polka Dot Overload and has a very cool day job working for Doctors Without Borders.  I’ll be showing you some of Masheka’s incredible work for the instruction sheet later on in The Circus.

Mikhaela and Masheka know how to create great covers and illustrations for print, so I knew that side of the work was safe in their hands after our time put in on Skype and epic email threads.

About the Pre-Sale

Producing a paper pattern incurs certain production costs.  I have long admired the American Duchess’ work and her character.  Lauren designs historical shoes with a modern wearer in mind, she started doing it because she couldn’t find the shoes she wanted.  I really admire that.   She crowd-sources design and sizing, and before sending a new design to be made, she runs a pre-sale to cover production costs.  She also patiently answered my pre-sale questions and encouraged me to keep going.  Thanks, Lauren!  Cake Patterns aren’t as expensive as shoes to produce, but I wanted to run my own pre-sale as a way to offer you a good deal on an indie pattern and to offset the printing charges.

150 Pre-sales will cover the printing production costs of the Tiramisu pattern.  Please help me out by spreading the word through Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and forums.  My passion is to dress you well and create a lovely sewing experience for you.

My approach to sizing and instructions are a little bit different.  For one, the “sizes” are labeled as your actual measurements.  I spent some time thinking through how to make this work for a dress with a midriff section and decided that rather than assign each bust size a waist measurement, I would do something different:

This is a draft of the back midriff piece.  You will note it does not have a side seam.  You draw your own side seam!  The dots at the top indicate the “bodice” size, and the triangles at the bottom show your waist measurement.  Connect them for a perfect side seam!  I thought this would be the simplest way for you, the sewist/sewer/seamstress at home to customize your size.

Also, I built a “fit check” step midway into the pattern, and the Tiramisu construction leaves the side seam til last- this means you can customize your ease preferences quite simply without distorting the design of the pattern!

During The Circus, I’ll be introducing you to Tiramisu, to Cake, and providing guides and tutorials for working with knit fabrics.  Towards the end of The Circus, I have a video in the works for knit hemming / handling, and a special look at the upcoming patterns in the works!  I appreciate that this is the first pattern offering from a new company, and I want to be sure you don’t feel like you don’t know what you’re purchasing- I want to show you exactly what Cake is all about.

Enough about that, where’s the pre-sale?

The pattern will ship in early November (barring any unfortunate events) and I will keep you all in the loop about exact shipping dates.  I’m running the pre-sale through Etsy- it’s easy, it’s tidy, and I’ll be able to focus my attention on building the Cake site once Tiramisu goes to print. Check it out!

I also really, really appreciate all the support and enthusiasm you’ve shown me for this project.  This would never, ever, in a million years have happened without you!  Thank you!  You make me want to make the best. patterns. ever.

Tomorrow: The “Cup” Sizing and Proportions for Tiramisu, Explained

Then Later: Fielding Testing Designs, Or- My Husband Thinks I’m Crazy

Even Later: My Red-Striped Tiramisu And Fabric Giveaway!

And oh, dear me, so much more!

Posts during The Circus will be much more daily than my current posting habits, but shorter than usual.  Except this one.  I am sure you understand!

Time to go kick up my heels!  This song has been in constant rotation on my playlist lately, along with the Charleston and Can Can and some Japanese stuff…


  1. I’m SO excited for this dress and will be RUNNING to buy it! :D

    However, I’m really confused by the sizing because the inches and cm don’t match up. My high bust is 95cm which is 37.5″. In inches, I’m a middling 35, in cm I’m a bottom end of the range 40. Perhaps this is to be explained tomorrow, in which case, sorry for getting ahead of you!

    • well, I used a basic inches to cm conversion of 1 inch to 2.5 cm. I think it will be cleared up in tomorrow’s post, I’ve been puzzling over the bust issues for some time and I’m really pleased to show you what I’ve been working on… :) And also, knits are much more forgiving than wovens… :D

      • Great, I’ll look forward to the explanation tomorrow! I’m sorry to be so nit-picky about it, but it’s so frustrating as someone who sews in cm when the basic pattern envelope numbers don’t match at all. There’s a cumulative and rounding error, and it means that, e.g. by the time you look at size 35 you’re 2″ out, which is a pretty big difference, even in a stretchy knit. For example: you give 35″-39″ as 85-94, but 85-94 is 33.5″-37″

        Also there is one thing that is obviously a clerical error — you have the largest size listed as 50-54″, and the cm as 125-129cm, which, you know, obviously that’s just a typo, and you mean 137cm for the second value!

        • Ok- great note. I tried to pay close attention to metric as I worked (my mind works in imperial and metric by this point) but if I go back through everything and find dramatic issues, you can bet I’ll be fixing it up. I don’t want anyone to have a tough time with Cake.

  2. Congratulations!

    Do you think it would be easy to custom the sleeve length? As in long sleeve, because in Portugal we are heading to autumn.

    • Yes. I’ve actually written bits of hacks in the past that address this issue, and I’ll be putting it into a nice streamlined way to alter the sleeves. Either with or without gussets, I’ve extensively tested both ways so I know they’re both fine. :)

        • the hacks are written from the same base I created this bodice from- the blank canvas tee. I did change the BCT in the course of making the pattern, so we’ll see. I’ll definitely be “showing my work” though. :)

  3. What a clever idea to leave out that portion of side seam! It’s where we all have to grade anyway, and it’ll be so much cleaner to see without crossing over other lines! Thank you! :)

    Also loving sewing the side seams last, as this is what I would have done anyway- but you’ll make me feel like less of a rebel ;)

    I’ve placed my order!

  4. WOW! I’m so excited for you! And the sizing ideas (with the high bust and “draw your own sideseam”) you had for this look incredible! This looks like what I’ve always been waiting for :) Naturally, I will be making an order in the pre-sale! :)

    • Woohoo! I’ll go a little more in depth on the sizing during The Circus, I hope I don’t disappoint! Been really throwing my brain into this one…

  5. You must be so relieved that your pattern is finally out there for the public to see. It is even better than I thought. I LOVE all the built-in fitting details. I’ll buy mine as soon as I get in from work tonight. I hope it is the first of many!

    • haha. Yes I am. ;)

      I’m so pleased you like this. Tira has several other things I put into it because I thought it would be cool. Sarai (of colette) once wrote she liked working for herself because it meant she could work for a company she believed in and would love to work for. Or something like that. It struck me deeply, that’s what Cake is. A company I’d love to work for. And I want Cake to work for you, very much so.

  6. Pingback: Tiramisu pre-sale is on… « Feel the fear and sew it anyway

  7. That’s a pretty brilliant way of handling the midriff! As someone who’s constantly having to take patterns in at the waist to get them to fit my bust and hips, thank you for considering that. :) Even though I won’t be able to get to sewing this for awhile, this definitely looks like a pattern I want to have!

  8. Congratulations – I jumped onto Etsy and ordered it before I even came here to comment :-) it’s a huge achievement! I’m fascinated by the pattern and can’t wait to try it.

  9. i have preodered – i love the pattern. so exciting! sounds like you have lots of fun things planned for us and i love the idea of drawing our own side seams and sewing it flat!

  10. Preordered!
    Can’t wait to get it – I love what you’ve done with the sizing and how you draw in your own sizes on the midriff sides, its going to be so easy to fit (and a terrific dress for a beginner too!)

  11. wow – you’ve clearly put a lot of thought into this pattern and the sizing – way to think outside the box! i’m off to check out your shop on etsy for the pattern and fabric :)

  12. As soon as I saw you would be showing how to make a Tira with long sleeves I was off to Etsy!

    • Yes- the long sleeves are buried deep in a former hack (or maybe it was the hack I worked on and never published… either way…) but I’ll throw them into The Circus, gladly. :) I have three different ways to add long sleeves, I think this time I’ll go for simplest.

  13. I’m so planning a future where I live in various versions of this dress. Faster to throw on than jeans and a t-shirt, and much prettier.

    • That future will be awesome. ;) Future Carolyn thanks you. I’ve reached for my Tiras over and over and over again, and I’m so pleased to have another one. Just like you said- so easy to wear, but prettier. :)

    • I don’t think it would be difficult, I may team up with someone to make a maternity “hack.” :) Basically just lengthen the CF hem (or don’t) and that’s that. The midriff could be shortened or eliminated, but I think it would probably work either way. I’m trying to get my hands on a prosthetic belly to do a little testing. ;) Or I’ll find a pregnant friend perhaps.

    • I’ve just preordered one! I hope your pattern line will grow to fill a whole patisserie! This is my first pattern from an independent designer, so I am looking forward to making it (so happy it comes in 30″ overbust!). So far my tiramisu making skills only extend to making the actual dish, but I am sure it will be fun.

    • Thanks, K-Line! Ooooh, great, Mona! I’ll be sharing more about the patternwork and then later the “support” for those who are less confident with sewing but really, reeeeeally want to learn even though they may not have classes nearby. :)

  14. I’m happy to say – Preordered! Can’t wait to get it – I’m looking forward to the midriff part – that’s the part I have the most trouble with in other patterns. I haven’t been sure how to fix it to fit me so I’ve been focusing mostly on knits or one-piece dress designs. I like someone’s idea of adding sleeves to this dress – I think I’d like to add them so I can wear them throughout the cooler weather here.
    So exciting! Good luck!!

  15. Pingback: A New Indie Pattern Co.: Cake | raevenfea

  16. Your idea about the midriff band is sheer genius! I am glad that you are offering this in an actual paper pattern, as dealing with downloaded pages and pages is definitely not my cup of tea (though I understand the appeal for folks who live where either purchasing patterns or postal service are difficult options) I will be preordering soon

    • Thank you! :) I appreciate the difficulties, too, but I found trying to work solely with pdfs was really limiting and slow. At some point I said to myself “Stephanie, it’s silly to do this much work and not make paper patterns!” It’s been kind of scary to step out and do this, I really hope that y’all love this dress and the way I put it together… :)

  17. OOH EM GEE how frickin exciting is this?! I am thrilled for you and will be placing order… and can i just say stroke of genius on the draw your own side seam :-)

  18. As someone whose waist measurement and bust measurement are almost never the same “size” for commercial patterns, I adore the draw-your-own-side-seam thing! Why isn’t every pattern like this? This pattern in particular isn’t my kind of dress, but if you do a classic princess-seamed a-line sort of thing in the future (wink wink) I’ll check it out for sure!

    • Yes! Same! I remember being really terrified to re-draw the side seam when I first started working with sewing patterns (as a sewist) so I thought I’d just go ahead and build it in. I’m so pleased you like it, I wasn’t sure if it would be helpful or strange. :)

      The next several patterns are separates, so so so many ideas! Thanks for the tip. :)

  19. How exciting that it’s finally (kind of) here! Congratulations on getting cake out to the public, and we’re not going to complain about the lack of bread ;)

    • Heh heh heh. Thanks Cation. Almost! But it’s so very very close to being completely set and ready to go! :)

      Let’s not talk about Juvenal! Dear me. ;)

  20. Ordered Tiramisu! The side seam customization is brilliant! Really looking forward to trying this one out.

  21. I can’t wait to make this dress! Congratulations on this labour of love. I think your method of customising the fit is going to revolutionise pattern making. I am thrilled to be a part of this.

  22. Wonderful…! So excited that I stumbled upon your blog from Mikhaela’s blog. Even more excited that you are based in Brisbane. I am a former Bris-Vegas girl, so happy to support “locals”. Just put in my pre-order…!

    • Oh cool! Thanks! Yep, I’m here in Bris-Vegas. I never met a place less like Vegas, though, but we can leave that for now. ;)

  23. I am so excited for this pattern–I shared it on my FB, because I want many more super-customizable, wearable patterns from you. I will get my pre-order in the very second payday rolls around!

  24. Hi Steph

    Just pre-ordered my pattern, can’t wait to get started. Would you be able to show us how to do a variation for long sleeves so we can wear this lovely in winter too?

    Lisa, just around the corner from you.

    • Thanks, Lisa! Yes, I’ll be adding a long sleeve “hack” either during the Circus, or once I’ve sent the patterns (which would probably be better timing.). I have three different ways to do it, I’ll go for the simplest one this time.

  25. Ordered.
    How could I resist? Even the pattern is adorable.
    I’m just so thrilled for you. You can see just from this preview how much thought and work has gone into this. Many congratulations.

    • Thanks, Evie! You’re so kind! I can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait to show the next patterns… Ahhh! All these ideas have been locked in my head for such a long time, it’s a relief to be able to “put them out there” finally.. :)

  26. Yay! Pre-sales are a fantastic way to get the support up front. I think it’s great when independent musicians work that way. I’m happy to shell out my $20 early and get a something special in the mail in 4-6 months.

    • Thank you for your support! :) Tiramisu is all paid for, but I’m keeping the sale open anyway. Such fun! :) We’ll all have comfy knit dresses in no time.

  27. Pingback: Completed: The Mustard Renfrew (plus some announcements!) « LLADYBIRD

  28. Just ordered. I am in love with sewing knit at the moment, so this is just great for me. I see countless tiras in my not too distant future.

  29. Pingback: Pedigree of a Dress- Design Inspiration! « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  30. Pingback: Tiramisu Three-Ring: Threads, Feet and Stitches « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  31. Pingback: Tiramisu Circus: Seam Finish Time Trials! « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  32. Just checked your Etsy page and it says the pattern is no longer available – why? And will it be again?

    • Hey Reanns– The pattern was available for a special pre-sale price in order to help me offset the price of printing. Once it goes to the printer and I ship the pre-sales, Tiramisu will be available for full retail price on Etsy. :) Sorry if there was any confusion about that!

  33. Pingback: Under Construction

  34. Pingback: Behind the Illustrations: Pavlova Instructions Sheet Photos | Esme Futurist « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

Is it kind, useful or interesting? Great!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s